INVESTMENT EXPERT: Subhas Ramkhelawan

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...‘Resignations example of shareholder democracy’

Investment expert Subhas Ramkhelawan says the action of Trinidad Cement Ltd shareholders which led to six directors resigning and seven new ones being elected on Tuesday was an example of “shareholder democracy” at work.

Speaking to the Express by phone yesterday, he recalled a previous attempt by Mexican cement giant (and still a 20 per cent TCL stockholder) Cemex to acquire 100 per cent of TCL more than a decade ago. Ramkhelawan suggested at that time, the shareholder sought, but was unable to make changes to the composition of TCL’s ownership.

But the special (compulsory) meeting held by a separate group of shareholders in Port of Spain on Tuesday provided a different result.
“It speaks to the idea of shareholder democracy. It speaks to the idea of any concern shareholders might have about whether their votes count,” Ramkhelawan said.

“I don’t see anything outside the remit of shareholder democracy.”
Section 133 of the Companies Act allows shareholders of not less than five per cent of a company’s stock to call their own meeting for the purpose stated in a requisition. TCL did not agree to a request by the shareholders to call a compulsory meeting. A move to hold a special meeting the way the shareholders did, and the way they were able to elect new directors, set a precedent.

But it is a precedent that is allowable and goes back to when the Companies Act in 1995 was introduced and made allowances for it, he added. TCL shares gained 22 cents yesterday on the local stock market to close trading at $2.48 per stock unit. —CR
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